Thursday, 28 September 2006

The curse of spaceships

When I find time these days, I am working on the final volume of the Lamb Among the Stars Series, which has the working title of The Infinite Day. A substantial part of the plot involves spaceships and travel on them. I had never realised until I started writing some of the material exactly how challenging it is to write about space travel.

I don't mean the awesomeness of the scale and grandeur of the cosmos, I just mean the depressingly boring and claustrophobic nature of travelling in space. It takes days, if not weeks, and there's nothing to see. Just stars and black stuff. And more of it. And the spaceships themselves tend to be dull functional things. So the entire narrative has to really revolve around people and words and relationships. Only no one leaves, and no one visits. In fact, it's pretty much like writing a drama set inside some large rather drab office. Spaceships seem to be quite the most boring setting in the cosmos. There is more going on in even the most run-down and remote Welsh village than the entire star fleet of some civilizations.

Some people marvel at how they could axe Star Trek. I'm amazed that it ever lasted so long.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Starting the blog

Welcome to readers. Let me say at the start that this blog is mainly going to concentrate on my writing efforts. It's prompted because in about a month's time the new volume Dark Foundations should be published. Actually, it's far more complicated than that and it's probably worth explaining it here.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (that's a good opening, must use it somewhere), I wrote two of what was envisaged to be a four-book cycle. Incidentally, no one seems to have a good popular name for a four-book cycle. They should be a tetralogy (Wagner's Ring is styled thus), but I've also seen the unlovely 'quadrology'.

Tyndale took them over and then as I was writing Book 3, my wonderful editor Linda Washington suggested that I broaden out the viewpoint. The result was that Book 3 sprawled to 200,000 words, the size of books 1 and 2 together. In a moment of inspiration, Tyndale suggested putting books 1 and 2 together in one volume, thus making the old Book 3, now book 2 of an epic trilogy.

Books 1 and 2 have now acquired the title The Shadow and Night, and frankly, if you've got copies of the original single volumes keep hold of them, they might be valuable one day (and pigs may fly).